28 February 2012
A congregation may possess the greatest orator for a preacher but no one will come to hear him if the church is not respected in the local community. The fact is, neighbors and friends visit mainly because of their respect for you, the life you live before them, and the example you are. They may disagree doctrinally but they will respect your convictions. A ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude turns people away; however, a true sense of concern and compassion for others will entice them to listen to what you say.
It is not necessary to wear certain kinds of apparel or to carry a placard advertising that you are member of some religious group. Your friends and neighbors already know what you are. They notice your enthusiasm or your indifference. They observe your faithfulness or your ungodliness. You are preaching and practicing before them every day.
Our peers are listening to our speech, watching what we are wearing, observing our habits, noticing our recreational activities, learning of our dealings with others and they are even concerned with our loyalty to the Lord and the local church. In fact, someone is scrutinizing every aspect of your daily life. You may, in fact, be the reason a person decides to become a Christian or to remain in sin. Never underestimate the power of your influence for good or bad!
The sentiments expressed by the apostle Paul as found in Philippians 2:12-16 should be considered and obeyed by the children of God: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His great pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among which you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
One of the greatest contributing sources to church growth is the individual Christian who is living faithfully to the Lord before his fellowman. What kind would your congregation be if all the members lived just like you?
In Him, Raymond Elliott